Jackals are true members of the dog family and can actually interbreed with both domestic dogs and wolves.

Golden Jackals and humans

For centuries, golden jackals have made an impression on Middle Eastern civilisations. They feature in many fables, are referred to in the Bible several times, and Anubis, a god of ancient Egypt, was depicted as a man with the head of a jackal.

Jackal pups that have been hand-raised can be quite easily tamed. They may be housebroken and behave rather like a pet dog. However, they will not allow themselves to be petted by strangers.

Golden jackals often scavenge around towns and villages, eating rubbish and dead animals - a habit which is beneficial to the human community. They also eat rodents and rabbits, keeping their numbers down, which helps farmers. However, they also raid crops such as maize, sugarcane and watermelon - not so beneficial to humans! In some areas they attack sheep, and farmers have had to erect jackal-proof fences around their fields.

As they are members of the dog family, it is possible that golden jackals may be involved in the spread of rabies.

Sometimes golden jackals are hunted for their fur. However, being adaptable animals they are still common and, apart from the Simien Jackal, they are at no risk of becoming endangered.

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